Conversation Development Rep of the Month: Meet Tenable’s Ed Silinker


Editor’s Note: Each month, we’ll feature a conversation just like this with a CDR to learn more about how they use Drift to book meetings. This is the fourth article in this series. Catch up on our interviews with Luminoso, Zappi, Bynder, and Zaius in case you missed them.

Tenable is a Cyber Exposure company empowering all organizations to understand and reduce their cybersecurity risk. Tenable’s goal is to arm every organization, no matter how large or small, with the visibility and insight to answer four critical questions at all times:

  • Where are we exposed?
  • Where should we prioritize based on risk?
  • Are we reducing our exposure over time?
  • How do we compare to our peers?

The company offers many different plans and solutions custom-built for specific cyber exposure needs, so the relationship between buyers and sellers tends to be very targeted and personalized in this type of purchasing environment.

We chatted with Ed Silinker, a CDR or Conversation Development Representative, at Tenable. Ed is part of the Enterprise SDR team at Tenable. He shared his experience using Drift, explained his day-to-day workflow, and offered many great tips for anyone looking to get the most out of qualifying leads through Drift.

This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Akhil Dakinedi: How did you start using Drift at Tenable? What were your first impressions of it?

Ed Silinker: We’ve been using Drift for a few months now. We used to have an inbound live chat service before that, but Drift definitely felt a lot more intuitive. My first impressions were positive because it gave us more visibility and ingenuity in how we talk to customers and prospects. We could send calendar invites to book meetings, speak to our customers directly, and it’s helped speed up our process and be more helpful to our buyers.

Akhil: How does Drift fit into your day-to-day workflow? How do you get new conversations?

Ed: Our team mostly relies on the notifications to get alerted about new chats. A little sound comes up and a notification message pops up if I get a chat routed to me. Once I get a chat, I try to reply as fast as possible. When we first started using Drift people were getting used to it, so we set an internal goal for ourselves to respond to every chat within two minutes. Now our median response time is well under a minute and we’re seeing the payoff for sure. We have maybe six or seven team members in Drift, and we’ve got some round-robin rules set up on a schedule and this distributes the chats equally amongst the team. We have a bit of overlap in our schedules because we want to make sure there’s plenty of coverage in case somebody goes to lunch or is away from their desk for whatever reason.

I mostly just respond to the conversations that I’ve been routed into. The rest of the team does the same, but if somebody gets pinged and they’re unavailable, one of us is always ready to jump in and help. We’re all here to help each other.

Akhil: What kinds of questions do people on your site usually have?

Ed: The people that come to our site are most likely looking for vulnerability management solutions, so it’s my job to help clarify and understand what their needs are and suggest the appropriate solution. If the customers have support questions, we have a button in the chat that explicitly says “We need support,” and if the customers click on that, they’re directed to our customer support team. Other times, they say things like, “Hey, I have this use case, can you give me pricing on this solution? Could you provide some technical assistance?”– at which point I can work with someone internally and continue helping the person out. There’s no hassle, it’s really quick.

Akhil: How does a conversation with a visitor on your site typically go?

Ed: The first step is to identify the need. I ask them questions about what they’re looking to do and answer any technical questions they might have. If the questions become more targeted, that’s when we start directing them to the appropriate rep to dive deeper into it. This is where we use the calendar feature a lot. We have it automatically pop up and say “Hey, your rep is Theo and he’s not actually available right now, but here’s his calendar. If you want to pick a time, you can go ahead and schedule a call with him.” And then they schedule a 30-minute call, Theo hops on for the meeting, and the person (if qualified) moves to the next stage where they get a demo of the solution.

Most of the time for a product like ours, people just need a quick answer and don’t really need to speak to a sales representative on the phone. They can just go on our website, ask a quick question, get a prompt answer, and move on. A lot of our customers are like this. If it’s a high-level technical question, we ping one of our engineers to jump in real quick. If it’s a little more in-depth, that’s when we end up setting them up with one of our representatives to schedule the call or talk through email.

Akhil: What’s your lead qualification workflow like? How do you hand off promising leads and how long does the process typically last?

Ed: Just like most SDR organizations, our job is to qualify as much as possible. We try and understand what the needs of the customer are. Once we’ve identified that the customer has a real need, our next goal is to get their email and phone number into our system. From there, we try to schedule a call and ask some more qualifying questions. If we can determine a real need through the chat, we just schedule the call for as soon as possible. We try to have a really quick turnaround to make sure that the calls happen before the lead/prospect goes cold.

Akhil: Do you work closely with the person that builds your bots in Drift? How frequently do you update them?

Ed: Yes, we work with our Director of Marketing Operations, Matt Mullin. We’ve got an issue tracker where we can write down all the bugs or issues we might encounter with Drift. We used it heavily in the beginning, but things have gotten a lot smoother as we’ve worked out the kinks. We also have an internal Slack channel with all of the Drift users and we have a lot of feedback being shared in there. It also helps Matt, because sometimes he’ll even jump into the conversations and help us respond to leads faster.

We’re constantly throwing out suggestions to Matt about how to update or improve the bot flow. It started off with a very simple and basic “Hey, what are you looking for? Let me get you in touch with a rep” but it’s evolved over time and our greetings are a lot more conversational. Matt has specific keywords in there to have the bot automatically reply and resolve most of the issues before even routing it to a salesperson.

Akhil: Do you have a monthly quota that you have to meet?

Ed: It depends on the role, but yes, I do. For my role as an Enterprise SDR, the goal is to get “X” qualified meetings per month. It may be more or may be less depending on the role. For us, Drift is just one of the avenues to help us reach our meeting goals. Drift helps immensely in finding those few extra people here and there per month that we get to talk to, which could hopefully generate one or two extra demos, which can really help!

Akhil: Are there specific things in Drift that you find yourself using a lot?

Ed: I actually really like that when you do have any kind of basic information, like how you guys are linked with the LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Once a person gives us an email or a first and last name, LinkedIn does its thing and is able to find these people. It’s able to help us fill in the blanks a lot which really speeds up the sales process. Once we know a bit about the person, we can figure out who they are, what kind of organization they work for, and we can better prepare ourselves with the right rep ready to go and help answer any questions.

It’s nice because it helps prevent us from manually going to LinkedIn and searching for everything. It’s literally at the touch of a button. It’s usually very good at populating the content with the right information very quickly, and it’s really a huge help for us. It makes everything so much easier and faster.

Akhil: Do you have any best practices or pro tips on how to get high-intent leads through Drift?

Ed: Keep it conversational. Asking them how their day is going, and stuff like that really goes a long way, all the while maintaining a sense of professionalism. Remember that we are all human and that we’re all speaking to humans. We want to keep it professional, but you also want to keep it light and conversational at the same time.

Know a CDR using Drift on their site to improve the buyer journey? Let us know by tweeting to us @Drift and we might just feature them in this column.

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